We just want to Play: Baseball is really about playing the game

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 28, 2004

The game of baseball is a game as simple and innocent as the kids that play it, kids that know that winning is fun, but that they would rather lose than not play at all.

Most of them can’t tell you when their next game is, or who their next opponent is. All they know is that baseball is fun. Their philosophy is simple, take me to the ballpark, give me a cool new uniform and a glove and let me play.

Five-year old wild man, Miller King is a ball player. Miller may not be able to tie his own shoelaces just yet, but he can sure tell you where first base is.

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“I’ve know how to hit the ball, how to catch the ball, how to slide into home plate and how to run to first base,” Miller said.

Miller plays T-ball and his favorite thing to do in baseball is hit the ball. Of course he also enjoys many of the other simplistic joys that the game offers.

“I like to climb on the dugout and I like to throw my glove in the sky,” Miller said.

But the one thing that Miller likes the best about baseball is his coach, who Miller thinks is the best thing in the world.

“I love coach Harris,” Miller said. “He is sweet.”

Six-year old Meredith Hill is also a ball player. She plays softball for the Demopolis Dixie Darlings league and she loves it.

“The best thing about softball, when I bat and get a home run,” Meredith said. “But so far I only got one this year.”

Meredith can’t tell you how many games her team has won this year, but she knows that she’s having fun.

“This year is a lot better than last year,” Meredith said. “I didn’t like T-ball last year, it was to easy.”

Seven-year old Caitlin Andrews is a Dixie Darling as well who also loves to hit the ball.

“I like to hit the ball, but I don’t like running the bases,” Caitlin said. Caitlin, Meredith and Miller are innocent kids who know nothing of batting averages, gold gloves or even all-stars. They just know they like this game, and as long as they like it, they will continue to play it.

But what about the older kids, those that are learning the many different aspects of the game, those noticing changes in the game?

Sydney Hill (10-years old) plays softball in the Dixie Angels League. Sydney knows more about the game than her little sister Meredith, but they both play the game for the same reasons.

It’s fun.

“We (her team) like to win because it makes you feel really good,” Sydney said. “But I don’t care if we win every game, just as long as we play.”

Sydney is a pitcher, and it is out on that mound where she finds her love for the game.

“I love to pitch,” Sydney said. “I like being where the action is. I feeling that I’m an important part of the game.”

Bill Holeman (11-years old) has been playing the game since he was five and though he knows the game is now more competitive than it was when he was younger, it’s still a fun game that he loves to play.

“I love just getting to go out and play,” Bill said. “I feel important when I’m out on the field. I like the attention.”

But things have changed this year for Bill, for he is learning another side to the game. Bill says that he has noticed a difference this year, but that he doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about.

“I think the umpires are different this year or something,” Bill said. “I get more mad with the umpires this year. And there seems to be more fussing going on this year.”

But despite the calls and the bickering over the calls, young Holeman just wants to play ball.

“I think it’s kind of crazy when coaches and umpires argue,” Bill said. “I mean it’s just a baseball game.”